Berks

Antietam's 'all hazards plan' focus of meeting with parents

Set for March 8 at middle-senior high school

LOWER ALSACE TWP., Pa. - School safety has been a big concern for many students and their parents, especially in the days since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, nearly two weeks ago.

Residents of Lower Alsace Township and Mt. Penn will have the opportunity next week to learn about the plans the Antietam School District has in place to protect their children while in school.

Melissa Brewer, Antietam's superintendent, will host a meeting on March 8 for parents to learn about the district's "all hazards plan" and how the administration works with police to train both staff and students how to respond to a variety of emergency situations.

It's been a decade since Antietam drew national attention with an emergency of its own, when a 13-year-old boy -- who went to school on the morning of January 9, 2008, with duffel bags that contained several knives, a blow torch and flammable liquid -- stabbed three other students in his eighth grade English class.

The victims' wounds were not life-threatening, and the actions of some staff and students were credited for preventing further injuries.

In the years since that incident, Central Berks Regional police Sgt. Terry Heydt has been teaching a 5-part emergency plan, known as ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate), to the district's staff and students.

"It's all about buying time," he told 69 News in an interview on February 16. "The police are on the way. The police will get there, but it's an average of 12 minutes nationwide for that police officer to arrive from the moment there's recognition of an event."

Given the wide range in age of students, Heydt said he adjusts his approach to his audience.

Heydt will also be on hand at the meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. on March 8 in the library of the Antietam Middle-Senior High School at 100 Antietam Road. Parents planning to attend are asked to contact the superintendent's secretary, Pam Janda, by phone at 610-779-0554 ext. 4119 or by email to pjanda@antietamsd.org.


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